You may have seen an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Joys of a Wood-Burning Stove.” The writer clearly embraced a new-found love of these heating devices, which for many homeowners is, as they write, “a deeply satisfying daily ritual.”

With that article in mind, we welcome back to the blog this guest post from Kevon Binder, Jr. Late last year he prepped homeowners on the first day of what’s turned out to be a memorably cold season. Winter is here: Is your fireplace ready?

We thought you’d enjoy his thoughts on the benefits of the wood stove.

Doctor Flue, inc® is an Ann Arbor chimney sweep company from Michigan, that encourages clients to “go green” by offering alternative heating solutions to traditional fireplaces.

Why wood stoves?

Did you know that the average open fireplace loses about 80 percent of the heat it generates?

Essentially, an open fireplace heats the outdoors when air circulates in and out of the chimney.

Unlike regular fireplaces, wood stoves and inserts meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emission guidelines, are up to 80 percent energy efficient, and cut heating costs in half.

Depending on the size of the home and stove, the heating radius of an average wood stove extends anywhere from 400 – 3,000 BTUs per square feet.

Wood is a main source of fuel for each stove and insert. When it comes to cost, wood prices are the least expensive, compared to electric, fuel, oil, and gas.

Kevon “Doc” Binder, the owner and founder of Doctor Flue, has been known to say, “The best type of wood to burn is free, and dry.”

Be sure to stay away from treated wood, cardboard, and inked paper, for better air quality and health.  It’s all about complete combustion; incomplete combustion creates smoke.

Burning Wood

Since creosote is both flammable and carcinogenic*, it is essential to isolate them from your living space.

This is arguably the most important, and in some cases most extensive, part of a fireplace energy upgrade.

Anytime you light a fire inside your home, you are accepting risk. It is up to you to determine the amount of risk that you (or insurance company) will incur.

*MSDS on Creosote

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Guest blogger Kevon Binder, Jr., is the Field Operations Manager at Doctor Flue, Inc®, a chimney and fireplace company serving southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio. He was the youngest CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep at the age of 15, and has over 15 years of experience in the industry. Learn more at

Editor’s note: Thanks, Kevon! And if you are looking to have your chimney inspected, you can always turn to and search for a qualified sweep by zip code. CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps: Inspect to Protect.